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Gone fish?

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The rivers of the North Pacific Ocean/U.S. Academies of Science

Officials with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game say they’re sticking with a forecast for another boom year for pink salmon despite a first-ever, international survey of the Gulf of Alaska notable for the species of salmon in short supply – pinks.

 

“The Secret Lives of Salmon: Where are all the pinks?” headlined the Vancouver Sun in mid-March. The Canadian newspaper was one of a handful of news organizations regularly tracking the voyage of the Russian research vessel Professor Kaganovsky as it sampled the Gulf in an effort to start sorting out what happens in the black box of salmon life history.

“The scientific community believes that a third of all Pacific salmon spend the winter in the Gulf of Alaska,” noted the International Year of the Salmon organizing group. “Pacific salmon from Canada, Japan, Korea, Russia, and the United States are believed to mix together in the Gulf of Alaska.”

Believes is the operative word.

About all that has been known for sure about salmon at sea up to now is that 80 to 98 percent of the young enter the ocean never to return. And that pink salmon, despite an average ocean survival-rate of only about 3 percent, are the most common of the six Pacific salmon in the sea due to the fact they breed like proverbial rabbits.

Nearly 138 million of them will return to Alaska streams and rivers this summer if the official forecast of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is correct. The international team of scientists aboard the Kaganovsky estimated only about 4.5 million pinks are in the Gulf at this time.

Organized by a Canadian scientist and backed by the International Year of the Salmon group, the voyage of the Kaganovsky brought together scientists from Canada, Russia, Japan, Korea and the U.S. Alaska did not directly participate.

The state that likes to brag about its world-class salmon management was far enough removed from the project that when Deputy Fish and Game Commissioner Forrest Bowers, the man who oversees commercial fisheries for the state, was asked about the Professor  Kaganovsky, he confessed he’d never heard of it.

Curious scientists

Plenty of the scientists working for Bowers, however, were watching the voyage carefully. A couple had been asked by colleagues from lower 48 to develop sampling protocol. Others couldn’t avoid being curious as to what the ship would find

Richard Brenner, who leads salmon forecasting efforts for the state, said Monday that some of the data collected during the voyage is intriguing, but that it is hard to sort out what it means.

“The problem,” he said, “is that survey has only been done once. We don’t have a great historical context to look back on.”

It could, for instance, be perfectly normal for large numbers of pink salmon to  be missing from the central Gulf at this time of year and for coho salmon, a far less abundant species, to outnumber them about three to one. 

Scientists need time to try to sort the meaning in the wealth of data collected by the Kaganovsky, he said, and even then, they will be looking at nothing but the photographs of a number of frames in a movie.

A lot more frames are needed to start to figure out what the entire show is all about.

Like a lot of other salmon biologists, Brenner would like to see the survey become an annual event, but that appears unlikely. This year’s $1.2 million project to recognize the Year of the Salmon largely came together only because of the tireless efforts of retired-in-name-only Canadian researcher Richard Beamish, a 77-year-old grandfather of Pacific fisheries research probably best known for his discovery of acid rain in North America. 

In a Seafood West Business Summit in Campbell River, B.C. last September, Beamish pointed to skyrocketing catches of wild Pacific salmon and a need to answer the question of what appears to be driving Pacific production upward.

“This catch is so large that [it] will shake up the science all around the North Pacific while people try to figure out what has happened,” The Columbia Valley Pioneer recorded him saying at that gathering.

Pacific catches in recent years are wholly out of line with historical harvests levels, cannot be fully explained by changes to fishery management or hatchery production, and reflect a shift in production areas with increased rates of ocean survival for Alaska and Russian salmon boosting numbers as a whole even as salmon from the Pacific Northwest struggle.

So many pink salmon showed up in Russian streams and rivers last year that processors couldn’t handle them all and unknown numbers were wasted as litter on the beaches and roads despite a harvest reported as a record-breaking 650,000 metric tons.

Alaska produced 510,000 metric tons in 2013 with a state record catch of 272 million salmon – more than double the 100-million-fish yardstick that for most of the 20th Century defined a good season in first the Alaska Territory and then the 49th state.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has forecast a catch of more than 213 million salmon for this year in keeping with a decade-long average of 181 million. That in turn is an increase from averages of 167.4 million in the 2000s, 157.5 million in the 1990s, and 122.4 million in the 1980s.

The New York Times might read those numbers to mean that “in an era of climate change and pollution,” there is a “dwindling catch” of Alaska salmon, but the reality is the opposite.

A warming north has to date smiled on the state’s fisheries and particularly pink salmon. About 65 percent of the forecast Alaska harvest for this year is expected to be pinks, a significant number of them hatchery fish.

The pink wave

In a 2018 study recognized by many as the gold-standard of salmon population estimates, scientists Greg Ruggerone and James Irvine last year estimated that 67 percent of adult salmon in the Pacific are now pinks, and that pinks – the smallest of the salmon species – compromise almost half of the total biomass of all salmon.

Despite their well-documented abundance, however, pinks were notably absent from the planned grid of 72 stations the Kaganovsky sampled in the Gulf from near the latitude of Kodiak Island south to the latitude the Salish Sea and from longitude of Prince William Sound east to the longitude of Sitka. 

The missing pinks have caused a fair bit of discussion among fishery scientist.

Vladimir Radchenko – the executive director of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and the chief scientist for the salmon on the project, this week told the Times Colonist newspaper he believes the pinks might have been south of the survey area.

Based on the survey data, Radchenko calculated there were 54.5 million salmon in the eastern Gulf, but only 4.21 million pinks, the Victoria, B.C. based paper reported.

Radchenko’s estimate would indicate the survey area contained less than 9 percent of the Ruggerone-Irvine estimate of 665 million salmon per year in the Pacific.

Given that weather messed up the neatly planned grid search of the Gulf, however, large numbers of pinks could also been missed east and north of the search area, although so little is known about the specific movements of mature salmon in the ocean that nobody is certain of where to expect to find them.

More is known about the movements of young salmon entering the Gulf of Alaska. Most of them are pushed north and west by currents as they emerge from streams and rivers in British Columbia and Alaska.

“The Alaska Coastal Current is a narrow, wind- and freshwater-driven current that flows in a counter-clockwise direction and dominates the flow along much of the continental shelf,” researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) wrote after their Gulf investigations. “These currents provide a near-continuous connection along the coast from British Columbia to the Aleutians that provides an advective or migratory pathway for early life stages of many fish species such as salmon, whose juveniles migrate along the shelf, and a number of groundfish species, whose eggs or larvae are released along the slope and
transported to downstream nursery areas.”

Those nursery areas are largely in the far Western Pacific.

How exactly the growing fish return from there the North American coast is less clear, but the general belief is that they catch a ride for at least part of the way on the eastward flowing North Pacific Current, which has been better tracked since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.

Scientists were able to use benign radioactivity from Cesium 134 and 137 isotopes escaping the Fukushima nuclear reactor to trace “the initial arrival of the Fukushima signal by ocean current transport at a location 1,500 kilometers west of British Columbia, Canada, in June 2012, about 1.3 years after the accident,” according to study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 

They reported continued tracking of  the signal from a point far west of Vancouver Island to “where the large-scale circulation diverges into the northward-flowing Alaska Current and the southward-flowing California Current…. subject to pronounced variability on interannual to decadal time scales.”

The Fukushima-marked water finally reached Saint Lawrence in the Bering Sea this year which led the University of Alaska’s Sea Grant program to praise the “traditional knowledge” of island residents who knew “Fukushima-related contamination would eventually reach the Bering Sea based on their knowledge of ocean currents.”

If that is true, scientists might want to ask islanders for some help in sorting out the very complicated salmon picture in the Pacific.

Head scratcher

Brenner admitted he didn’t like Radchenko’s ratio of pinks to salmon numbers as a whole in the Gulf, but added, “I don’t know what to make of it.

“It’s a huge area,” he said. “It’s mind-boggling in size,” and salmon are temperature-sensitive creatures. Shifting ocean-water temperatures could shift locations of pink salmon.

And the simple reality of science is that it would be foolish for Alaska to abandon time-tested methods for forecasting salmon returns that while not always perfect as to exact numbers are very good at narrowing the range of possible returns.

The range this year spreads from a low of about 77 million pinks to a high of about 170 million. The bulk of the return is expected to come from Kodiak Island and Prince William Sound where hatcheries have created fishery that historically didn’t exist.

Brenner said the Kaganovsky sampling could have could have simply caught an accurate snap shot of what is expected for the state’s Panhandle where the forest is a weak 18 million, about half the 10-year average. Last year’s Southeast harvest was also weak. The problem appears to be with freshwater or nearshore survival of young pinks, but the specifics of what is happening are not known.

A joint effort between the state and NOAA’s Auke Bay Laboratory has allowed for spring sampling of out-migrating pink salmon juveniles in the region for years. Numbers were low in 2017 and lower still last June and July.

“The extremely low juvenile abundance index in 2018 was unexpected given that pink salmon (spawning) escapements in 2017 were generally good and escapement goals were met…,” the state forecast says.

It goes on to note freshwater survival problems at Auke Lake, one of the few sites in Southeast where adults and juveniles are both fully monitored. The lake is adjacent to the NOAA lab.

“The escapement of 10,711 pink salmon at Auke Creek in 2017 produced only 31,540 out-migrating fry in spring 2018,” it reported. “The fry-per-spawner ratio of 2.94 was the second lowest on record and well below the long-term average for the odd-year brood at 13.42 fry per spawner. In addition, the midpoint date of pink salmon fry out-migration at Auke Creek in 2018 (April 20) was four days later than the historical average (April 16) and nine days later than the average migration midpoint date of the last five, odd-year brood fry (April 11). The overall midpoint date of pink salmon fry out-migration at Auke Creek has shifted earlier over time at a rate of almost a half day per year, but this year’s later timing likely reflects below average temperatures in the Juneau area from February through March.”

The fry going to sea in 2018 also headed for a Pacific starting to warm above the norm again, a factor that is thought to have reduced Southeast returns from 2014 to 2016 although there are indications that it did the opposite in other parts of Alaska.

How this all works is unknown, but the answer is out there somewhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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32 replies »

  1. “Fukushima continues to leak an astounding 300 tons of radioactive waste into the Pacific Ocean every day. It will continue do so indefinitely as the source of the leak cannot be sealed as it is inaccessible to both humans and robots due to extremely high temperatures.
    It should come as no surprise, then, that Fukushima has contaminated the entire Pacific Ocean in just five years. This could easily be the worst environmental disaster in human history and it is almost never talked about by politicians, establishment scientists, or the news.
    It is interesting to note that TEPCO is a subsidiary partner with General Electric (also known as GE), one of the largest companies in the world, which has considerable control over numerous news corporations and politicians alike. Could this possibly explain the lack of news coverage Fukushima has received in the last five years?
    There is also evidence that GE knew about the poor condition of the Fukushima reactors for decades and did nothing.”

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-02/fukushima-radiation-has-contaminated-entire-pacific-ocean-and-its-going-get-worse

    Like

      • You seem to have the same “head in the sand” approach to Fukushima as does our Governor, Board of Fisheries as well as most “lamestream media” sources throughout the US….
        Obviously, with multi billion dollar sea food industries at stake as well as ties to a “blue chip” U.S. corporation at fault (GE)….this is understandable, but the rest of the world from Asia to Europe appears WAY more concerned about the risks to our health.
        “Lethal levels of radiation have been detected at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, seven years after it was destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami.
        The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), which operated the complex and is now responsible for its clean up, made the discovery in a reactor containment vessel last month.
        The energy firm found eight sieverts per hour of radiation, while 42 units were also detected outside its foundations”
        Not sure the conversion on “Sieverts” to tons in the Ocean, but you can see multiple sources still reporting this thing has been leaking radiation for nearly 8 years into the Pacific and NO end is in sight or “engineerable” at this point.
        I went to college with folks from Sweden who told me that after the Chernobyl Disaster the “fallout” led to widespread contamination of all the deer in their country and all of the animals needed to be killed.
        Sadly, it is impossible for a disaster the size of Fukushima (which is now thought to have leaked 8 times more radiation than Cherobyl) to not affect the fish in the Pacific.

        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/fukushima-nuclear-disaster-radiation-lethal-levels-leak-japan-tsunami-tokyo-electric-power-company-a8190981.html

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      • Steve, I realize you think of yourself as the Dutch Boy here with your finger in the dike but my opinion is that you have made a blunder by picking on something that doesn’t measure up to your crying wolf.
        That’s not to say that you don’t have every right to not eat our fish-just that your ridiculous talk of “contamination” is not warranted IMO.
        Just loosen that tin-foil hat and dial back on your BS here- then go ahead and eat those soybeans and be proud of it. Heheh!

        Like

      • Steve: Sweden did get a big dose of Chernobyl radiation, and some of that radiation remains a problem to this day. but radiation in soil behaves differently than radiation in water, and the Swedes never had to kill all their animals.
        https://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2054&artikel=4468603
        i’m not too worried about our salmon being irradiated, but i am a little pissed they come back during the period of the midnight sun. if they’d come when we have some darkness it would much easier to catch them given the way they now glow in the dark.

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      • Radiation in the ocean is a major concern. Folks in japan should ask for international help if they can’t solve it . There is no viable excuse for alowing this to continue unresolved. Especially by a seafood eating nation. Even if it’s not as huge a problem as some think it is a potential health catastrophe. Trump should step up and help get this resolved. Where is greenpeace , the Un and other capable concerned parties? I would donate money to a fund to help resolve it . I’m going to research and see if there is a fund available. Saying engineering or robots isn’t up to the task is probably not correct. Money and international awareness must be the issue.

        Like

      • The article that you linked to Craig stated:

        “The Swedish authorities raised the limit for permissible radiation in game, freshwater fish, wild berries and mushrooms, based on their view that these foods made up only a little bit of the Swedish diet. But even to this day, a small portion of reindeer can’t be sold because they have too much of the radioactive element.”
        I was told by a very reliable source that many of these reindeer with “too much radiation” were just slaughtered at the time…this would make sense to me.
        I think that you are down playing the severity of this situation in the Pacific.
        Remember that Fukushima is now at 8 times the radiation of Chernobyl and the effects of Chernobyl are still being seen today in Sweden and Norway.
        “Almost 30 years after the nuclear plant explosion in Chernobyl, this autumn, more radioactivity has been measured in Norwegian grazing animals than has been noted in many years…
        Caesium-137 has a physical half-life of 30 years. This means that in two years, half of the radioactive dust that came in over Norway after the dramatic spring night in 1986, will be gone.”
        I would think more state wide testing of animals, berries and fish should be taking place at this point.

        https://www.thelocal.no/20141006/radioactive-reindeer-found-in-norway

        Like

    • Steve,

      It’s not often and Bill Yankee and I agree on things, and while I still agree with how he has addressed you on this subject, I agree with his general point.

      Just because you choose not to accept it doesn’t mean it’s not being reported on. The reports say that the amount of radiation is not a problem, and they use science to prove it. There is an old saying and while it isn’t politically correct it is still true…the solution to pollution is dilution. The amount of water in the Pacific, and remember water is great at diluting things, versus how much radioactive water is being released is enormous or ginormous or even bigger than that. So unless you are bathing in the waters directly off of Fukashima you really don’t have anything to worry about.

      Here is a little perspective for you
      https://oceana.org/blog/worried-about-fukushima-radiation-seafood-turns-out-bananas-are-more-radioactive-fish

      You are surrounded by radiation, the amount that has been found in and around Alaskan waters as was recently reported (and you read about and commented on another site) isn’t going to make fish from our waters start walking on land, it isn’t going to cause them to grow a tgird eye, and it isn’t going to kill them. Not to downplay the Fukashima disaster, as it is a major disaster but until the time when you can show a level of radiation in the Pacific Ocean (not just the waters directly off Fukashima), that merits concern…crying wolf doesn’t help anything.

      Like

      • Very true about crying wolf also I like what you said on multiple other points,Steve o ,makes a lot of sense,but keep in mind the bucket can get full and overflow so there’s no sense in us not putting an effort into resolving Fukushima if it can be and treating it like the disaster it is . Surely nations could get together and create a solution.

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      • Opinion, nations will not get together as long as they are not threatened equally IMO. This is about large amounts of money and trying to get everyone to pay here is about like trying to get everyone on board with Dunleavy’s budget proposal. Not going to happen!
        Juneau has a situation where some property owners are threatened by Mendenhall riverbank erosion but some are more threatened than others, so they can’t agree on a solution and it’s become every owner for himself.
        Always possible that some formula can be put forth where the world comes together to fund this potential disaster, based on some reasonable structure to pay for it relative to one’s threat, but I’m not holding my breath, here.

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      • Bill you are right . I’m still going to find a way to donate money to someone who’s trying to solve the problem. I say pollution chemicals and radiation affects us all eventually one way or another. Regardless of residence. Eventually it’s going to reach a tipping point and screw everything up for future generations if not for us . I like to eat my fish and game or breath the air and think about it and be happy. The concept of future people not getting that pleasure is a sad thought much less it’s impact on future genes . If trump wants to look good he could start fixing these world wide pollution concerns. But realistically you are right bill . What makes an impact though is when someone steps up and does things others consider unrealistic. Time for pollution to be treated that way : )

        Like

      • Bill,
        Thanks for the vote of confidence as your name calling is the one thing we can always see from your responses…I am more a “red beans and rice” type of guy than soy products, but that has nothing to do with my concerns. (Think air, water and soil)
        BTW what environmental education and experience do you and “Steve O” have that make you two such “authorities” on the spread of radiation and contamination of food sources?
        I am guessing none as the two of you are both retired fisherman (maybe with skin still in the game) this would easily explain your “everything is OK” attitude.
        As for the rest of the West Coast….well, more and more contamination concerns are being raised as folks are finally starting to test for the stuff in the waters off our coast.
        I would wager a bet if more scientists were out testing for feds and state that more higher levels would be detected, but if no one is out in the field getting the data then “business as usual” will continue with fish ranching in AK.
        As we are seeing in California, not only are there high levels of radiation in the water off of the coast, it is now showing up in their food sources as well.
        Most recently, this has been detected in wine from California vineyards…this is much different than radiation from the sun or your TV.
        Is this “fallout” raining down on the vineyards and if so, what is “raining” down on AK?
        These are the concerns that I have and we both know as long as this “melt down” remains uncontained and leaking into our Ocean and Atmosphere that more radiation and higher levels of contamination are sure to follow in the years to come.

        Like

      • Steve, my apologies for name calling and frankly that came from your original post linking Tyler Durden from ZeroHedge. Anybody linking that bunch deserves a tin-foil hat IMO. And I added the soybeans bit because of your post on another blog saying you were giving up ocean fish because of your radiation concerns. I will continue eating salmon, halibut and lingcod as long as I can catch them.
        I don’t share your concerns because I’m any kind of expert, just that I am comfortable with the science that is taking place by those who are experts.
        By the way, your “I would think more state wide testing of animals, berries and fish should be taking place at this point.” -are you thinking Alaska here or Sweden? Swedes can take care of their own situation and we surely don’t have issues with animals and berries due to Fukushima IMO. That said, should the Japanese lose control of their clean-up I am certainly in favor of giving them any help they need.

        Like

      • Steve O,
        There are different types of radioactive isotopes (and radiation) and not all types behave the same way…
        What we are dealing with here is primarily the isotope Caesium 137…
        “This particular isotope of Caesium is both a beta and gamma emitter. It is produced in some abundance by fission reactions. A lot of attention is focused on Caesium 137 : it is the main source of long term contaminations after Atmospheric tests of atomic bombs and nuclear accidents.”
        (Wikipedia)
        “Exposure to Cs-137 can be external to the body or internal. External exposure comes from walking on contaminated soil or coming into contact with contaminated materials at nuclear accident sites.
        Internal exposure can come from breathing particles in the air that contain Cs-137, such as dust originating from contaminated soil, or ingesting contaminated water or foods.
        Because Cs-137 is not concentrated in a particular tissue, the ionizing radiation that it releases can expose all tissues and organs of the body.
        Much of what is known about cancer caused by radiation exposures from nuclear power plant accidents comes from research on the April 1986 nuclear power plant disaster at Chernobyl, in what is now Ukraine….
        In this group of people, there was an increased risk of leukemia.”

        https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/radiation/nuclear-accidents-fact-sheet

        Like

      • Steve,

        For the record I’m not a retired commercial fisherman, I’ve said that I previously commercial fished, there is a difference. I’ve also had extensive environmental training, although I will admit radiation has never been a focus. What environmental training have you had? You are good at copying and pasting what random conspiracy theory sites have to say, which leads me to believe you’ve had exactly zero environmental training and education since somebody who has had even a little training and education would be able to quickly deduce the fear mongering from such folks is based in ignorance.

        Do you know what the levels were in the Pacific before Fukushima? I’m sure there were studies done at some point what with all the nuclear testing performed in the Pacific over the years, knowing this small detail will help you form an understanding of where we were and where we currently are, and where Fukushima might take us. The recent levels that were detected in the Bering Sea were so small as to be for all intents and purposes nonexistent, the year over year increase (from 2.0 to 2.4Bq/m3, if memory serves) is almost meaningless. Not that the EPA has earned my trust by any means, but the safe drinking water limit is 7,400 Bq/m3.

        Here is an article from the dailykos, maybe you will believe that source, even if it is a little dated and from the daily kos
        https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2014/1/15/1269942/-History-of-Bomb-Strontium-and-Cesium-Isotopes-in-Pacific-Compared-to-Fukushima-Sources

        Bill,

        This is getting scary, agreeing with you so much.
        What kind of weed are you smoking?

        Like

      • Steve,

        I’ve been trying to find some actual numbers on how much Cesium 137 is being found in California wine, without much luck. Most reports just say that Cesium 137 has been found in increasing levels, but what were the levels before and what are they now? I’m kind of a hard numbers guy over using descriptive words that are open to interpretation, like most of these reports are using to get people to read their stories. Honestly the more I read about it the more it rings of sensationalism in reporting where facts are thin and where just about anything will be said to get more clicks or views, in short fake news. Which is a shame since there is an actual disaster that has been hijacked for and by people with ulterior motives.

        Like

      • Steve-O, I’ve got a problem with most weed-it gives me an increased heart rate that I’ve known about for a couple of years. Ordinarily this isn’t too much trouble but I’ve had a heart valve repaired about 10 years ago and experienced A-fib and I don’t need it again. This is already more than you need to know but I’ve found one strain (Hurkle) that doesn’t cause me grief and thus I usually just pass the joint on.
        I suspect this crazy bit about us agreeing will pass. Heheh!

        Like

      • Well Guys,
        It appears the Canadians are now finding traces of Fukushima’s isotopes in their salmon from the Pacific already (maybe this is since their entire country has legalized cannabis?)
        I personally prefer CBD derived from organic Hemp sources best for medicinal use.
        Remember that Chernobyl isotopes are still peaking in Norway’s reindeer after 30 years of the last “melt down” and Cancer has surpassed heart disease in North America as the number 1 cause of mortality…it is also proven that those exposed to higher levels of radiation in the Ukraine after Chernobyl suffered Leukemia.
        I am aware that most sources claim a small amount of Cs 137 in your food is safe, but as a personal decision I would not like to eat a lifetime of fish that have already been found to have small amounts of the radioactivity.
        The problem with radioactive isotopes is that they do not leave the body once ingested and when you combine the amount of radiation ( from dental X-rays, flying in planes, radiation from the sun especially do to decreases in Ozone, along with computer screens and various “scanners” we are subject to…you start to see a pattern and the end result is that Cancer is the top killer of Americans)
        Remember there are no “thresholds” for contamination.
        Contamination is defined as “the action or state of making or being made impure by polluting or poisoning.”
        It is my belief that fish coming out of the Pacific are now “impure”…it could be from the bombs that the U.S. dropped on Japan years ago…the nuclear testing that the U.S and Russia have done in the Pacific or from Fukushima…
        The research and data collected from Norway and Sweden tell us that 30 years after Chernobyl, the concentration of radioactive isotopes will only go up over the next 30 years….especially when this “melt down” in Japan is still uncontained and leaking huge amounts of radiation into the ocean for the last 8 years…with no fix in site.

        “For the first time, seaborne radiation from Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster has been detected in a Canadian salmon, says UVic chemical oceanographer Jay Cullen, who leads the InFORM coastal network that monitors marine radioactivity off BC.
        The single sockeye salmon contained a miniscule amount of cesium-134, the “fingerprint” isotope from Fukushima. The salmon was collected in Okanagan Lake in summer 2015 and was one of eight fish out of a total of 156 that tested positive for trace levels of cesium-137, also a manmade isotope, but not necessarily from Fukushima.
        “With its roughly 30-year half-life, cesium-137 is still present in the environment from 20th-century nuclear weapons testing and Chernobyl, in addition to Fukushima,” says Cullen. The team did more intense analysis to determine if the telltale cesium-134 was also present.”
        “The radiation plume from Fukushima has spread throughout the northeast Pacific from Alaska to California with maximum levels of contamination expected nearshore this year and next.”

        https://www.uvic.ca/news/topics/2017+a-minute-trace-of-fukushima-radiation-detected+ring

        Like

      • Steve, good luck with your diet-pretty amazing how it has changed over not that long as I remember you were once a moose hunter, as well.
        Anyway, what are your thoughts about “glyphosate” that is so prevalent in our crops? Mexico has determined that a seed of corn treated with glyphosate flowers and when visited by bees the honey produced contains trace amounts of the chemical. That trace amount makes the honey not acceptable to European Union’s import rules for food and Mexico exports to EU. Thus Mexico does not allow glyphosate but we use enormous amounts and think it safe. A few courts have found against Bayer and Roundup with much more no doubt coming.

        Like

      • Steve,
        From the article you referenced
        The level of cesium-134 in the one salmon was 10,000 times lower than Health Canada safety guidelines, which is nowhere near a significant risk to consumers, says Cullen.
        “For perspective, you would need to eat 1,000 to 1,500 kg of salmon with this level of contamination in a short period of time to increase your radiation dose by the same amount as a single five-hour cross-country airplane flight.”
        And
        “Levels measured now and predicted at their peak are unlikely to represent a significant health risk to the marine ecosystem or public health in BC.”

        And still there are no actual numbers, words like minute and trace and “minimum detectable concentration” all point towards the same conclusion, that to panic over this is to panic over the wrong thing. Spend time and energy trying to help the situation not raising an alarm where it isn’t needed.

        When you said “The research and data collected from Norway and Sweden tell us that 30 years after Chernobyl, the concentration of radioactive isotopes will only go up over the next 30 years” that is incorrect. The half life of Cesium 137 tells us that the levels will start to drop, not go up as you claim will happen with Chernobyl. The daily kos article I linked to earlier shows what happens as radiation breaks down over time, it decreases.

        Eat what you want, you’re an American and it’s your right, but you should be informed about the unclean things you eat. It could be that your rice and beans are far more contaminated than a salmon, if I were a betting man I would say it is much more likely so.

        Like

      • Steve,
        I can’t link directly to it, but if you search for “Measuring radioactivity level in various types of rice
        using hyper pure germanium (HPGe) detector” you will find a pdf that goes into detail on how much naturally occurring radiation is in six different types of rice. Since we still do not know what trace and minute levels were in the BC salmon it’s anyone’s guess, but I’m guessing it’s lower than the levels found in these rice samples. From the little reading I’ve just done on the subject I sure hope you aren’t eating brown rice, apparently that stuff holds radiation much worse than white de-husked and well rinsed rice.

        Like

      • Well guys,
        Glad I can pull you together in your consensus on this issue.
        I especially liked Steve-O’s comment:
        “It’s not often and Bill Yankee and I agree on things, and while I still agree with how he has addressed you on this subject, I agree with his general point.”
        I always knew that most Alaskans have more in common than apart…as for one’s diet, well that is a personal choice to make.
        I just checked my bag of “Thai Hom Mali” Jasmine Brown Rice and it is certified “Organic” from Thailand…apparently not effected (yet) by the Fukushima disaster that has radiated a lot of Japanese rice.
        ..Rice contaminated with radioactive cesium has been detected in Miyagi Prefecture. It is the first time that contaminated rice has been discovered outside of Fukushima Prefecture. The rice, which at 240 Bq/kg exceeded government-mandated limits by almost two-and-a-half times, was not sold to the public. Prefectural officials have requested that nearby farmers refrain from shipping rice and other produce until further testing can be conducted…”
        I have also switched over to mostly Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes as my main sources of carbs..
        Sure, there are containments in the soil all over the world…but buying Organic NON GMO products helps a bit as does staying “plant based” with one’s diet which helps the animals on the planet as well as the human beings consuming the fruits, nuts, berries and vegetables. (Which most in our markets come from Mexico or South America these days)
        I must admit, this is new for me….I am a born and raised as a “meat hunter” who would go into winter with 500 lbs in the deep freezer.
        Through research and personal experience in watching those around me suffer from heart disease and complications from it (as well as 20 years in EMS treating patients with complications from Cancer and Heart Disease)…I decided to slowly switch to a more plant based diet and found that I felt better, had more energy and was “injured” less.
        Many Naturopathic Physicians believe that a diet mostly of animal products causes severe inflammation on the body which then causes Inflammation of the heart and arteries which causes disease in adults. Many strokes are also caused by inflammation in the brain.
        So, In light of the Anchorage “shit plant” dumping billions of gallons of sewerage into the Cook Inlet and the old mining operations at the head waters of these salmon streams…compounded with the radiation in the Pacific from years of nuclear testing as well as Fukushima’s eight years of “melt down”….I have decided that I am satisfied with my mostly organic plant based diet and look to invest more in my home garden.
        As for “the rice” ….it seems like a non Japanese product is still OK, but even better to replace with Organic Quinoa (I did not want to seem too “hippie” at first)…
        Have a good day as I am taking the dogs out for a ski in the afternoon “Corn”.

        https://organicslant.com/hot-rice-brown-rice-vs-white-rice-radiation-content/

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    • Possible John but unlikely IMO.
      We do know that lots of pinks were released by hatcheries and some rivers and streams but not all (Auke Lake produced an incredibly small number of fry relative to its escapement). And SE trawl sampling of pinks in 2018 shows few pinks giving backup to SE poor pink forecast. So there are at least two different situations here and certainly possible something got those pinks in their first week at sea but unlikely they are on the bottom (unless that’s where they feed). That would, however, be a reason for the small trawl survey in SE since it’s a surface trawl. And that would suggest pinks have changed their feeding habits-if the feed moves, I guess the feeders could move too.

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  2. The seafood industry is literally the House in Alaska. It’s a win win, no matter what happens, they can’t lose.

    Don’t believe it- seafood industry manufacturers export $6,000 million in wholesale value annually from Alaska.

    And pay zero on that wholesale value (the raw fish taxes amount to about $60 million to the state prior to splitting half of it to coastal communities where the processors are located.)

    If the Sportfishing industry manufacturers exported $6,000 million annually from Alaska every year, they would pay 10 percent or $600 million every year to the feds. In wholesale excise taxes. Single Johnson : Sport Fish restoration funds. To cover the cost of management and conservation.

    The largest seafood manufacturers in Merica pay zippo.

    Cause they are the definition of the House.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You know what, who really cares if the pink salmon don’t show up. Especially if you are a commercial fisherman.

    Uncle Sam will just pull up the economic disaster declaration and dump another $50 million on the hatchery processors and cost recovery seiners, only further fattening their already fat wallets.

    To them, it really doesn’t matter if the pinks show up or not – it’s a rigged win-win system.

    Think not – just look at a former commissioner who greased a 30 percent for hatchery production now being appointed to North Pacific fish council, and through the revolving door she now heads the processor who makes money directly of that increased hatchery production.

    It’s so obvious that iit is invisible and hidden in plain view.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Have you read the PWS RPT yearly reports or ever been to a meeting?
      The increased pink egg take was planned a couple years before Cora became an employee of SBS.
      Trident, Ocean Beauty, Seward Fisheries (Icicle), Copper River Seafoods, Pacific Seafoods, Whittier Seafoods plus SBS make a butt load of money from pink flesh, roe & oil in PWS. The dollars made by fishers is a multiple 4x into the municipalities, villages and cities like:
      Valdez, Cordova, Whittier, Tatitlek, Chenga, Seward, Kenai, Homer and Anchorage, to name a few
      Have you been to Winebago Park in Valdez in July? Thousands of salmon are caught right off the breakwater, then cleaned and thrown on the Barbie. Does not get any better than that. There are more fish jumping, than you will ever see in a lifetime. City of Valdez welcomes you to come on down this summer. Stay into late Aug, limit out on huge Coho everyday. They even have a great Silver sport tournament, daily largest and biggest of the season. Lighten up and enjoy Alaska, pray to the Almighty to bring the salmon, lifeblood of the AK coastal communities back this year’

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  4. Good read Craig.
    That would be “Prince William Sound ‘east’ to the longitude of Sitka.” Seeing if we’re awake?

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    • navigational error. thank you. usually i could keep east-west, north-south and port-starboard clear. i’m blaming age.

      now, the red-green thing, well, that was a handicap. so not my fault.

      i always wondered why they didn’t just make nav buoys black and white.

      Like

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